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Emotion vs Logic
By Joe Guertin, The Streetfighter Sales Coach

The fundamental truth in selling. People buy on emotion, and then back it up with logic

There's Little Logic in His Success

At an ad conference this fall, I listened in as 'Brian' talked to some of his counterparts over lunch about the terrific year he was having, even though his competitors struggled. I really wasn't trying to eavesdrop, that is until I also heard him mention that his wasn't the 'big' paper in town. They didn't have the greatest distribution. He didn't have the best cost-per-thousand and, yea, they even had a lot of trouble with color. Not logical at all.

And that was the difference.

Brian understood one of the most forgotten, yet fundamental truths in selling. People buy on emotion, and then back it up with logic. We don't buy a new car because we like the wiring schematics. We want the neighbors to see it in our driveway! Of course, we then support our decision with logic: "we needed a new car and the price was right." And it's not limited to cars and advertising. Whether you sell carpeting, copiers or F16s, buyers buy for reasons other than logic.

Does that new prospect trust you? He or she gets calls from a lot of advertising people, and creating trust is a critical first step. It's also rooted in emotion. Next comes confidence. Does that prospect feel confident in you and your recommendations? (Notice I said 'feel' confident. Another emotional decision.).

One of my own 'sales success stories' was increasing a soft drink customer's spending with me by 500% in one year. (I nearly lost it a year later, but that's another story). What increased my share five times had nothing to do with numbers or demographics. It was all emotion. And it was a team effort. My General Manager and I had some extensive conversations with key local decision-makers and found out some of their own, personal goals for the local market. We were ale to address many of those goals through promotional ideas, local retail product sampling. Numbers? Nah. We became consultants, idea merchants, and problem-solvers. And the sale was made.

Brian was having that kind of success, over and over again. Out on the streets, his competitors were handing out rate cards and talking circulation. Brian was on the streets asking questions, listening, and bringing in ideas. True, the numbers are important, and customers do want to know you're penetrating the market they've got to reach, but remember: nobody ever bought an ad from a media kit. They buy from people they trust. Idea merchants. Streetfighter marketing consultants. People who look at sales the way Brian does, and understand that emotion drives the sale, and logic still backs it up.

Joe Guertin is an advertising sales trainer, speaker and coach. His programs have informed and entertained newspapers nationwide. Your comments are welcome to, or visit his Sales Resource Center at

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